As Donald Trump has loudly and repeatedly promised to build a wall along the United States’ southern border to keep Mexican immigrants out, a Bay Area-based artist hired two Mexican immigrants to likewise build a wall—out of piñatas—to bring people together and denounce hate, brick by brick.
During the opening reception of “We Are Against the Wall,” people gathered at Southern Exposure, a nonprofit art gallery on 20th and Alabama streets in the Mission District. Artist Sita Bhaumik debuted her piñata wall project, which is composed of nearly 400 piñata bricks and stands eight feet tall and 11 feet wide, on Sept. 9 of 2016.
Bhaumik commissioned Victor Martinez and Francisco “Paco” Leon, owners of Piñatas Las Morenitas Martinez in Oakland, to make the piñata bricks for the project.
“As we all know, this election season has been just really frightening and incredible,” Bhaumik said. “This issue of immigration, which always is a topic of discussion in American politics, has just taken this really incredibly ugly and painful turn. So I thought of the responsibility to address that as an artist, with the show being right before the election.”
There is a reason why Bhaumik specifically chose piñatas: Bhaumik’s mother, who is Japanese-Colombian, told her that in Colombia, they would break seven-pointed ceramic piñatas at Christmas, a symbolic gesture to destroy the “seven deadly sins.”
People who attended the closing ceremony at Southern Exposure gott a chance to release that anger on Oct. 15, when attendees bashed the piñata wall until it no longer stood.
“They exist to be destroyed. You don’t buy a piñata and hold on to it for 20, 30 or 100 years. You buy it to destroy it,” Bhaumik said. “And for me the only reason to build a wall is to destroy it. And what better form than a piñata.”